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Categories: Basic Obedience

Q. My dog goes into the heel position rather than the front position when I call her to me. What can I do?
Hi Ed.

Thank you for the continually informative web site.

I'm currently doing obedience work with my 7 month old GSD female. She's a fast learner and eager to please, so I don't have much trouble with her. I do take her to training, but I've also ordered some of your videos. She passed her 100 yard down, stay & recall test with flying colors to graduate from puppy class. There is only one problem that I'm encountering that has me puzzled. When off lead, like doing the long down, stay, her recall is perfect. If we're just in the house and I call her to me from another room, she finishes in perfect position. She comes in straight and finishes in perfect position when off lead. However, we're now going to distance work on a retractable. For example, I'll have her in a heel, put her in a stand stay and continue to walk away from her, while extending the retractable until I'm about 15 feet away. If I give her the "come" command while on the retractable, she keeps trying to come into a heel position instead of the recall position. This is the only time that she does not finish in the right position when called to come. I just don't understand why attaching a leash is confusing her. I'm sure it's a handler problem, but I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Can you help?

Thanks!

Stacie

A. You have identified a part of your training in which you went too far too fast.

1- I don’t like to call my dogs out of a stationary position i.e. the stand-stay and the down-stay. Rather it’s a clearer picture for the dog to have you go back and release the dog. They are more solid on the stay if you do this.

2- With the dog coming to a heel – start with the dog sitting 2 feet in front of you – then call it – when you can back up 2 or 3 feet at a time and the dog still comes to the front position then it understands.

3- Going into the heel position is best started by having your dog at your side in the sit position – you pivot to his front while he remains sitting – then give the heel command and help him in the learning phase.

4- Bottom line is you need to break down the problem and back up the training and it will come together.

With all this said – I don’t make pets do FRONT and FINISHES – no reason for this. But if you enjoy the work maybe you should go on to more advanced training.
  
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